Review from ROAPE Volume 31 Number 99
First International Sahara Film Festival
Wet wipes, football boots, a long list of medicines, 50 DVDs (minus Chicken Run as I couldn't persuade a three year old to give up his favourite) and a precious torch squeezed into an old rucksack. No dicky-bows this time as the Polisario Front hinted formal dress and frilly frocks would not be necessary for the First International Sahara Film Festival, centered on Smana refugee camp in the South West Corner of Algeria, just across from the border from Western Sahara.
At Madrid airport a mixture of 250 film-makers (mostly Spanish) actors, press and solidarity workers loaded up piles of supplies, including 21 full length feature films, all on 35mm, which were to form the heart of the festival. This assembled crew was the brainchild of the gently spoken Peruvian director Javier Corcuera, who could persuade the devil himself to examine his conscience. But Corcuera faced a tougher task; to persuade a cinema owner to lend him two precious film projectors as well as inviting a rock impresario to make up the shortfall from funds raised from local authorities and usual solidarity sources.